Diamond Lake Trail

MODERATE 436 reviews
#1 of 110 trails in

Diamond Lake Trail is a 5.6 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Nederland, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, camping, and backpacking and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
5.6 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,240 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

backpacking

camping

hiking

forest

lake

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

Directions from Eldora: Travel west on CR #130 and then northwest on CR #111 to the 4th of July/Buckingham Park Campground. Hiking alternatives include Diamond Lake Trail from Hessie, Arapaho Glacier Trail from Rainbow Lakes, and Arapaho Pass from Monarch Lake (Hot Sulfur District). Note: Getting to the trailhead can be difficult. A high clearance all seasons car with 4-wheel drive is recommended.

1 day ago

hiked this trail today. loved all the waterfalls. great hike. will do it again.

hiking
2 days ago

What a treat to see fields and fields of wildflowers on this hike, most definitely on the path to Middle Diamond Lake when you are next to a gorgeous stream! The trail to Middle Diamond Lake is well-established; there was some basic route-finding from there to Upper Diamond Lake but you can now follow this track.

3 days ago

Dont stop when you reach the lake, the best park of this hike was exploring up behind the lake!

hiking
5 days ago

Hiked today 7/15, gorgeous cloudy day. Lots of wildflowers and water along the way. One of my top 10 favorite CO hikes for sure.

6 days ago

Best views with the most exciting hike to the top!

scenic driving
9 days ago

This is a proper moderate level hike that I really enjoyed. Trails were clear and parking wasn’t horrible when we got there just before 7am (by 1030am though it was atrocious). Didn’t really see anyone else on the trail until we started coming down, this seems to be a busy spot even on a Wednesday morning. Lots of wildflowers, water crossings, and the lake is gorgeous, would highly recommend. The road up there, like others have stated, it’s a bit rough for lower cars. My newer outback did fine but I was a few small sedans struggling their way up when we left.

10 days ago

Moderate difficulty hiking trail, uphill most of the way up but it is gradual. Very good trail but a little rough in spots. A great trail for dogs in the heat since it is mostly in the trees and lots of water. We went on a Sunday and got there at 1:00. Lots of the morning crowd had dispersed so we found a good parking spot. I have gotten there in late morning around 9-10:30 before and finding parking was very tough. Views are gorgeous and easy and quick to get to from Denver Metro.

hiking
11 days ago

Such an amazing part of the world. Lots of sights to see and amazing wildflowers. I wish I would have brought my nice camera. As others have stated the road up to the trail head is very bumpy. Once you enter this road from Eldora is is about a 20-30 minute drive along this road to the parking area. I arrived about midday on a Monday and there was a line of cars parked along the road. The hike was relatively crowded for a Monday. I can only imagine what this trail is like on a weekend. That being said, when I got to the actual lake it wasn't that crowded at all. I tried to make it all the way around the lake but had to turn back. There is still some snow and a lot of runoff so the trail around the other side of the lake was soaked or difficult to follow. It was worth hiking around to the other side though as the waterfall leading into the lake was amazing.

hiking
11 days ago

I most recently hiked this trail on 7/8/18. I love the Diamond Lake trail and am usually not off to enjoy it on weekends. Very busy! I highly suggest this trail as a perfect way to enjoy all types of nature; wildflowers, mountains, waterfalls. A great way to see it all! I will say though, it was extremely heartbreaking to see all the trash and doggie poop bags left along the road when I left and most others were gone (around 6:30 PM). I took what I could but I need to say: if you are going to enjoy our trails you better clean up after yourself. Also, if your dog MUST accompany you on a hike, you MUST be ready to clean up after them. You are ruining our watersheds, our nature, and the experience for everyone else.

hiking
11 days ago

What a great trail! The drive to the trailhead is a little bumpy but well worth it. You’ll need a AWD vehicle with high clearance. The entire trail has views including a few waterfalls. I consider this trail moderate difficulty. I’ll definitely be back.

hiking
12 days ago

Did this hike Saturday July 7th. It is one of the most beautiful hikes in Colorado. The flowers are on full display. The columbines, Indian Paint Brush, and Sunflowers are everywhere. The waterfalls and lake add to the beauty. Pack a lunch and enjoy lake at the top. High clearance vehicle would be preferred on road to the TH.

12 days ago

Great hike! We headed up late afternoon after the normal afternoon storm which was great because it was less crowded and there wasn’t anyone else at the lake. Steady climb but nothing crazy and very manageable. The wild flowers were amazing and we saw 16 water falls (all different sizes).

13 days ago

Beautiful trail! Completed on 7/4. This is an annual must for us. The waters are currently full, flowers in bloom, and all snow is melted. Just be sure to bring bug spray for the lake!!! I always forget and I always regret it!

hiking
13 days ago

Absolutely beautiful! Highly recommend this trail. One of my top 5 trail in Colorado. Lots of wildflowers (Indian paintbrushes, columbines etc..) I saw Elks on my way back from the lake.
As described in other reviews, the last 4.5mils to the trail head on forth of July road is very bumpy, so recommend 4x4 car and drive slow (10-20mph).
I did this hike on 7-6-18 Friday arrived at 8:15a, there were still few spots open in the parking lot in front of the trail head. Highly recommend to be there early. Otherwise, you’ll need to park a ways down the road.
It’s moderate hike but close to easy level with good weather today.
I started the hike at 8:30a and had the trail to myself until my return trip where I passed a lot of people and dogs starting the hike. It took 2.5 hours round trip with lots of photo stops and plenty of time at the lake!

At 1.6 miles from the trail head, there are fallen trees have blocked the path. Do not go further, you need to take left to go down to the stream and the bridge.

Do not forget bug spray!

18 days ago

This hike was phenomenal. The ride up was a little bumpy, but the views and the lake were well worth it. Good to camp in but no campfires, saw plenty of dogs as well (with leashes). Definitely worth the drive!

19 days ago

Absolutely beautiful. We got here quite early and had a decent place to park. The road is narrow and there a a couple of cars that almost left no room for people to be able to drive between them. Please be courteous. Wonderful wildflowers and waterfalls. The lake itself was gorgeous.

hiking
19 days ago

Did this trail 7-1-18. Really fun moderate little hike. The waterfalls and creeks along the way mean theres always something beautiful to look at and the lake is the perfect place for a lunch break before heading back. Lots of Indian paintbrushes and columbines. We got there right at 8 am and the parking lot was completely full and we had to park along the (very narrow) road about a quarter mile from the trailhead. The road to the trailhead is a bit bumpy and rocky but not terrible.

hiking
19 days ago

Great hike, sun in the morning, clouds in the afternoon, trail wasn't hard, did it with my 13 and 10 yo and they loved it. The road getting there is great if you have a Jeep with high clearance (which I did) otherwise you will need to take it slow, but definitely worth the bumpy ride.

hiking
20 days ago

Made it to the trail after 4ish miles of bumpy dirt road in my beetle! The roads not terrible if you take it slow, and the hike is totally worth it too. Lots of great views, streams, waterfalls, and more. The hike itself was pretty easy.

hiking
21 days ago

Nice spot! FYI 4x4 road

21 days ago

Picturesque! A must for any avid hiker.

hiking
22 days ago

Absolutely wonderful trail. Amazing views starting from the trail head to the lake. Tons of wildflowers right now which add gorgeous pops of color. On the easy side of moderate for me today but I feel we have especially good weather with a light breeze and plenty of shade. There are no hard or technical aspects to this hike but there are lots of rocks to work around and there is one “iffy” spot where you have to walk on rocks over rushing water to pass. It’s an easy crossing but you do need to have proper shoes because the rocks are slippery. Some muddy spots but really no snow to speak of as of 6/28/18.

A few pointers that may help fellow hikers:

- the road to the trail head is as described in other reviews, we went very slow in a Kia Soul but others with lower clearance vehicles blazed past, though we did see one person who we thought going too fast hit a bump hard and then have to stop and check their car. Be careful people, it’s not a race!

-the bathrooms at this trail head are probably the worst I’ve ever seen (or smelled). Bring your own TP (there was none) and hand sanitizer!

-We arrived later than planned on a Thursday at 10:30am. We had to park a ways down the road. I can’t imagine trying to park here on the weekends.

-despite the parking, the trail never felt crowded or overrun. Every was nice and courteous and seemed to have proper water and gear.

-this hike is super dog friendly! Tons of water and my two 10 year old pug mixes handled it with ease and had a blast!

Bring a lunch and hang out by the lake, it’s quiet and peaceful. Highly recommend this hike!

hiking
26 days ago

Busy weekend at the Fourth of July Trailhead! We chose Diamond Lake thinking it would be less crowded, and I think we chose correctly. Pretty much snow-free until the very top, but nothing your regular shoes can't handle! Lovely spots at the top for a little picnic before heading back.

backpacking
1 month ago

it was beautiful!!! if you go in June though, bring snow shoes and gaters! or of your super sure footed, micro spikes and gaters

hiking
1 month ago

Done on 6/15. This is a great trail! Excellent scenery and not too strenuous. The first 2/3 on the way in has several streams to cross, and there were several snow drifts the last 1/3 as you got closer to the lake, but packed down for the most part so extra equipment wasn’t needed. Would definitely recommend having a high clearance vehicle to access the trailhead as the road is quite bumpy. All in all, a great trip and would strongly recommend.

1 month ago

Trail was super fun, would highly recommend it. Be advised that there were still several snow drifts (6/13/18) that needed to be traversed, especially the last half mile or so leading up to the lake. I used trekking poles and that helped a lot, but still slipped, fell, got wet and made it to the car with wet socks and shoes. Was it worth it? Well I went back the next day to do another trail, so, I’d say so!

1 month ago

We backpacked this trail 6-9-18. We chose not to bring snowshoes and were glad we didn’t. There’s still a decent amount of snow for the last half mile. It is useful to have a GPS map, since finding the trail before the big river crossing and again right by the lake is difficult. I’d recommend bringing crampons if you have them and if they’re easy to put on to help you from sliding on the snow, especially on the way down. You’ll be fine in hiking boots if you’re ok getting a little snow in your shoes. Bring an extra pair of socks. The lake is beautiful and worth it.

hiking
1 month ago

This was our first hike in that area, and I had heard that the hikes are beautiful for their wild flowers. I had done some research, but did not read the trip reports for Diamond Lake. Well, little did I know that there was feet of snow! You can hike to trail head and a little past to the bridge and waterfall without getting wet feet. Everyone we passed who was coming back stated they didn't make to the Diamond Lake due to the snow and confusion on where the actual trail was. We started with 6 people and we had 3 people turn around at the bridge. The three of us that continued on were using GPS along with my Hiking Project app to find Diamond Lake. We ended up going a little longer route, crossing the bowl and post holing a lot, but we finally made it! You pass a frozen pond, and then it's right over the ridge. On the way back, we went down through the trees and followed the river back to the bridge. Which was actually closer to the real trail. Our feet were wet and frozen, but definitely worth the peace and view! If you decided to hike the Diamond Lake, I recommend snow shoes or skis this time of year, otherwise your in for an adventure with just hiking boots. Was an amazing hike!

hiking
1 month ago

May 26, 2018.
I been to this area before but never got the chance to see diamond lake. Today I started at 7:40 AM. The first half of the trail is the easiest part of the trail. Although I did end up getting lost for about 40 mins or so until I finally found the bridge in the middle of the river. After that, I followed a few tracks but I end up making my own tracks instead and went straight up the mountain until I reach the lake. Mind you that during the incline, I have sunk in the snow about half of my body a half of a dozen times. I’m 5”9 btw. Anyways, I actually made it at the lake around 10:30ish. After that I went back down. I didn’t follow back my own tracks because I had no where it was so I went straight down until I hit the river. I turn left and made it to the bridge. Yes, I had a good amount of bruises and scratches since some parts of the snow was really soft. I made back to my car around 12:40. Note once you get to that bridge, it’s the only time you have to ask yourself will you do it or turn back? I saw most if not all the people on this trail turn back without question or asked me about it but rather not deal the brutal incline. I was the first and probably the only person out of 50 or more of people that actually made it to the trail on this day. I only used yak taks, water proof boots. I had hiking sticks but never bother to use them because I have to be constantly on my phone and my watch to navigate back.

So in the end, it is possible to do this hike. But it’ll cost you a lot of pain and sweat to get here. And possible chance that’ll you get lost because you followed some guy tracks. Gotta have a strong mindset and determination for this trail. If not, it’s probably best to wait until July or August for this trail. This is my 29th hike and a journey I will always remember. Follow me on insta if you like: ed_hikes

Good luck and be safe!

walking
1 month ago

The plus: Stunning views of wild forest, charming brooks, small waterfalls and snowy peaks, and the hike is not too difficult. That said:

The path isn’t marked at all and deep snow covers the upper trail this time of year (end of May). After about an hour of a pleasant hike the only real way to follow the path is to look for previous people’s tracks. Which, mind you, might be yours and you’re just walking in circles... it’s easy to lose the path and begin back tracking.

I came alone, and progress became less and less certain as the trail went deeper into the mountain. At some point after crossing the creek, about two thirds of the way to the lake, I found myself in a snowy forest with absolutely no way of knowing which way to go, and no tracks to follow as I guess most people would have abandoned the trail by now, and the late afternoon sun beginning to dim. Luckily the Alltrails map was loaded on my iPhone and I could watch my exact location - no cell reception, but the GPS still worked.

Add that to the fact I was totally ill prepared: let’s just say shorts and running shoes are sub optimal as in certain parts of the trail your foot will sink all the way in... and you can understand why I had to cut it short about a mile before reaching the lake. It was still quite an adventure.

Bottom line: amazing track and unbelievable view in spring time if you come well prepared for a snowy hike. And as a general advice, read past reviews - I only did AFTER going :)

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